Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Number 2226: Gone, yet still with us

I am saddened each time I read of the death of a favorite actor, musician, writer or artist who had influence on me over my lifetime. The latest is Steve Ditko, who died recently. Before that, Bernie Wrightson, who died last year. What consoles me is knowledge that their work is still with us.

I found scans of Marvel’s Chamber of Darkness #7 (1970) online. (The first page of the lead story has an inscription, “Another fine HACSA/Grundy scan” — so I would like to thank them for making the scans available.)

On reading the comic with Ditko’s death still fresh in my mind, I realized all of the artists represented are deceased: Wrightson, Ditko, Sutton, and Kirby. Over the years I have spent many hours looking at their work, studying it and enjoying it. I was still a child when first encountering Kirby and Ditko, Tom Sutton I did not see until the 1970s, and Bernie Wrightson was my age, part of my generation and of a wave of artists who entered the comics field circa the late '60s-early '70s.

We have lost them, but we will always have something of theirs to remind us of them and their work.


Brad S. said...

Hi Pappy - Did you hear that Russ Heath died last week?

Brian Barnes said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant stuff. There's nothing to add, old (reprinted) Atlas horror tales by 4 of the greats. Thank you!

flash said...

And the latest to leave us is the great Russ Heath. He was prolific through the fifties right up to almost the present.

Daniel [] said...

One could be sure, almost from the very beginning of “The Mask of Drothor”, that the villain's face would be transformed by the mask; the only thing that one could not predict was whether he remove the mask and find his face transformed, or find that the mask itself had become his face. Actually, though, to be consistent, the visage of Drothor ought somehow to dissolve.

In any case, what makes the story interesting is Ditko's art. For Marvel, he was an extremely able illustrator of dark tales of magic in the late '50s and early '60s, and in the case of Doctor Strange into the late '60s. Stan Lee would crank-out one predictable, formulaïc tale after another, but they'd be worth reading because of Ditko. He was then a first-rate illustrator of horror fiction, but drawing stories limited by the Comics Code and otherwise by the scripts or outlines that he was handed.

But the other problem for him was that he came to embrace a philosophy that did not coëxist comfortably with supernatural fiction, and especially not with horror fiction. He was ideologically pushed or pulled away from work of the sort that he best did, into work for which he was far less well suited. Mind you that I have some sympathies for that ideology and think that Ditko even represented a more humanized variant of it. But he simply wasn't well suited to express that philosophy in the form of illustration.

Darci said...

Yet another passing to note today, in fact two. First was Marie Severin. Then we learned Gary Friedrich died too.

Pappy said...

To all: it's very hard to say goodbye to anyone whose life and work we have admired. But when a person has had a long career, and has left a lot to remember them by, then they seem to me to be here. The artists mentioned in your notes also have much to remember them by.

Because time is relative to each of us, I was genuinely surprised when Wrightson died. Wrightson was my age, not like many of the other artists, who had outlived their biblical "threescore and ten" by a couple of decades. Then I zoomed back to reality. I'm 71! I've outlived that marker, also, if only by a year.